“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Now, here’s a guy who can say a thing or two about attitude. Our Hero has been quite ill of late. He was sprung from the hospital today. He suffered a nasty infection that’s lasted a month too long. He’s not been in the hospital that long, to be clear, although he probably should have been. Hopefully, he’s turned a corner now. If his attitude, and his doctor, has anything to say about it, he has. I tell you what, both of my folks are amazingly strong human beings. They happen to be really good people, too.
“Don’t wait for things to get better. Life will always be complicated.
Learn to be happy right now, otherwise you’ll run out of time.” ~ Unknown
A couple of years ago I thought we might not have anymore Father’s Days to celebrate. I was wrong, thankfully. This past week, dad got real sick, even landed in the hospital. Yesterday was the sickest I’ve ever seen him, and I’ve seen him cut stem to stern sick. But yesterday was very, very different. Just like the Energizer Bunny, he got up this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed; back to himself and rarin’ to go. A little slow, but definitely, unmistakably here. We shared a meal and talked about his boxing days in the Army when he “knocked the shit outta them with a Kentucky Haymaker.” He confessed he wasn’t much of a boxer, yet that Haymaker kept him alive and made him a few friends in process. Though today wasn’t the Father’s Day we’d planned, we got A Father’s Day. I don’t know what else anybody could ask for. (A big thank you to Uncle Tony for the 1968 photo below)
“Be selective with your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right.” ~ Unknown
Dad has taken to sunbathing. He’s so not a sunbathing kind of guy, but there he is. He just sits in the sun. If he doesn’t have a chair, he’ll sit in the grass. I suspect that, if he didn’t have grass, he’d sit in the dirt or gravel or blacktop or whatever there was to sit in. He refuses to use sunblock even though he’s had one bout of skin cancer. He really can’t do much work anymore, and since he was always an outdoorsman, it makes sense that he’d be drawn to anything outside that fills him with joy. That would be the radiance of the sun. I often do the same thing when the weather turns warm in spring and the bugs aren’t yet unthawed. I’ll come home from work, park that same chair in between the apple trees, and soak up the warmth until the sun goes down. Yes, skin cancer is a very real threat, but our elderly have few joys left, so if he wants to bake in the sun, fine by me. It sure won’t be the thing that kills him, and if it gives him a little happiness, that’s just what the doctor ordered. Wally, on the other hand, prefers the shade.
“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.” ~ Unknown
Dad hasn’t been able to participate in DAV activities the way he used to, but this year, despite having pneumonia, he was able to lay the wreath at the DAV Memorial Day Event in West Liberty. It was hot, too. Real hot. While he did his thing, with Jill standing in the wings watching over him, mom and I went to decorate at Malone. We came back for them, then went to Dairy Queen to cool off with some sweet treats. It’s really important that folks, any folks no matter their age or infirmities, be able to participate as long as they’re able. And when one is able to make it happen, one must. It feels good to help. I’m grateful everybody in the family, including Jill, was able to do something to honor our vets and ancestors this year. Here’s to many more banana splits with my two favorite vets.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Your favorite couple and mine made an appearance today. We shared a lovely meal where our Hero relayed the good news from the doctor. For those who don’t know; among other things, our Hero has been battling lung cancer. First diagnosed in October, he underwent a relatively new radiation treatment in February. It’s designed for people like our Hero who cannot, for a variety of reasons, undergo anesthesia. While the treatment did not eradicate the tumor entirely, it did shrink it significantly enough that no further treatment is required at this time. “Health is better than things,” he said. “That’s thankful wishing.” Hear hear!
“Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles.” ~Unknown
A couple of weeks ago when our Hero and Shero were in town, we three had a nice meal out. I try to take advantage of booth seating for a selfie because you never know when you’re sharing your last meal. I’m happy this wasn’t it, and I got a picture out of it. I call that a win.
“It is in the giving that we receive.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi
Here we see The Parental Unit in their natural habitat. Well, they’re in my habitat but this is their natural state while in my habitat. I made a delicious dinner of roast chicken, which I’d meant to snap, but clearly, I didn’t. I really enjoy cooking, so I like having The Parental Unit around on weekends when I have time to make good meals. Good times.
“Each day I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family,
dreams that turned into reality, and likes that turned into love.” ~ TinyBuddha
We tried to have a surprise birthday party for Charlene this evening. I say tried because she was seated at a table for ten…before anyone else arrived. So much for the surprise in “surprise party.” Nevertheless, she was happy to see us all, and we enjoyed good fellowship with one another. I hadn’t seen the family since my birthday dinner back in January, but it felt much, much longer, I suppose because I’d spent so much time with them in the fall. I’ve missed them, so I was very happy to be in their company for a couple of hours. Tony’s daughter, Anastasia, joined us, too. You’ve met her son, JC, many time before. He’s dad’s buddy. Yes, I’d say, all in all, a good time was had by all, and we had birthday cake.
“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” ~ Unknown
I love it when the Universe conspires for good. About ten days ago there came a comment on an outhouse post from Lori Sanford (center). She found me through an outhouse image that Google indexed of the Patrick and Rebecca Risner headstone. Lori was researching her genealogy. After finding the tombstone, and reading the post, she assumed we were related. She assumed correctly. The Risner’s had five daughters and one son: Daisy, Chester, Minnie, Hester, Ada, and Hazel. My great-grandmother was Minnie. She married Douglas Adams and they had seven children: Eugene, Orville (my grandfather), Edna (Lori’s great-grandmother), Wick, Opal, Mildred, and Randy. We exchanged a few emails and hit it off right away. Tonight, with her mother Sharon (right), we met for dinner. Sharon’s mom, Imogene (mom’s first cousin), is now 87 and in poor health, so sadly she couldn’t join us. Mom and Sharon hadn’t seen each other since Edna’s funeral in 1985. (As an aside, I called Edna ‘Banana.’ Nobody knows why.) We all learned things about the family we didn’t know before we sat down together. Marriages, deaths, affairs, quirks, similarities, differences: we ran through the list. Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that Lori is also a drummer. Both she and mom played drums in marching band. Imagine three female drummers in one family. How awesome is that? Plus, mom and Sharon have birthdays just four days apart (Jan 24 and 20 respectively), so tonight we celebrated them both. Mom and I had a fantastic time, and I’m pretty sure Lori and Sharon did, too (poor dad was outnumbered). We vowed to meet again, and it’s a dinner I look forward to. Thank you, Universe, for helping Lori find me, for Sharon, for mom, and for a really colorful family history.